Hand injuries are among the most common injuries sustained while on the job, according to annual workplace injury statistics compiled by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) and other workplace safety officials.
Injured workers may be eligible for workers' compensation and other potential benefits. That's why it's important to understand what to do if you suffer a hand injury at work.
Hand injury statistics
Each year, an estimated 1 million workers need emergency medical care due to a severe hand injury, according to BLS statistics cited by Occupational Health & Safety magazine.
Another recent study conducted by the U.S. Department of Labor found that 23 percent of all work-related injuries involved injuries to the hands or fingers, making hand injuries "the most frequent preventable injuries," according to Safety + Health magazine.
The same Safety + Health article noted that hand injuries are the second most common reason for missed work after back and neck injuries.
What are the different types of workplace hand injuries?
Some of the most common and most serious hand injuries suffered by workers in New York and throughout the U.S. include:
- Lacerations (cuts).
- Broken bones, especially fractured fingers. In some cases, fingers can be partially or completely amputated.
- Avulsion fractures. This injury occurs when a small piece of bone attached to a tendon or ligament breaks off. For example, avulsion fractures of the hand and wrist commonly occur during a fall onto an outstretched hand.
- Burn injuries.
- Crush injuries.
- Puncture wounds.
- Nerve damage, including carpal tunnel syndrome.
- Hand amputation (loss of the hand).
While all workers risk sustaining a hand injury, certain professions are more at risk.
Who is most at risk of a hand injury at work?
According to Occupational Health & Safety magazine, workers at the highest risk of sustaining a work-related hand injury include:
- Construction workers, including demolition workers and roofers.
- Workers who operate heavy machinery, including bulldozers and dump trucks.
- Manufacturing workers who operate drill presses, lathes, and other large machinery.
- Warehouse workers.
- Cooks, servers, and other restaurant workers (scalds and burns are the most prevalent).
Hand injuries are common in other industries and can cover a wide range. That's why all employers need to make worker safety a priority.
Why do work-related hand injuries happen?
Work-related hand injuries often occur due to hazardous working conditions. Examples include:
- Failure to provide workers with adequate safety equipment.
- Not providing workers with proper safety training.
- Unmarked hazards or poor lighting, resulting in a slip and fall accident.
- Dangerous or defective machinery, especially power tools and electric saws.
Work-related hand injuries happen for many different reasons. If you sustained a severe hand injury at work, seek immediate medical care. Then, talk to a workers' compensation attorney as soon as possible to review your legal rights and options.
Along with a workers' compensation claim, you may be eligible to pursue a claim against a negligent third party that contributed to your hand injury (e.g., a subcontractor). The key is to call an attorney as soon as possible so that all potential sources of compensation can be identified.
Talk to a workers' compensation attorney in NYC today.
At the Law Offices of Pasternack Tilker Ziegler Walsh Stanton & Romano, LLP, our workers' compensation lawyers have the knowledge and the experience to help you find your path forward following a work-related hand injury. We know how the legal system works in New York, and we understand what it takes to get results for our clients.
When you have our highly skilled legal team on your side, you can rest assured that your hand injury claim will be taken seriously by the other side. Discover what we can do for you. Contact us today for a free consultation with an experienced New York workers' compensation attorney.